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Dak Prescott Probably Isn’t the Future

Cowboys Headlines - Dak Prescott Probably Isn't the Future

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Dak Prescott Probably Isn’t the Future

I don’t blame you for getting excited about the Cowboys’ drafting of quarterback Dak Prescott. It had been seven years since the Cowboys spent any draft pick on the position, going back to Stephen McGee in 2009. With rising concern about Tony Romo’s longevity, any addition of new talent at quarterback was a welcome sight. However, we really need to check our enthusiasm. Like McGee before him, Prescott is just a fourth-round pick.

I don’t blame you for getting excited about the Cowboys’ drafting of quarterback Dak Prescott. It had been seven years since the Cowboys spent any draft pick on the position, going back to Stephen McGee in 2009. With rising concern about Tony Romo‘s longevity, any addition of new talent at quarterback was a welcome sight.

Cowboys Draft - Cowboys Should be Happy to "Settle" for Dak Prescott 1However, we really need to check our enthusiasm. Like McGee before him, Prescott is just a fourth-round pick. You go back 20 years and see that most fourth-round quarterbacks don’t end up any better than McGee did. Those that do hardly became franchise players; mostly career backups and just a couple of decent starters.

The majority end up out of the league in just a few years, many never earning a second contract and some never even seeing the end of their rookie deal. Here’s a look at every fourth-round quarterback taken from 1996-2012:

SUCCESSES BACKUPS FAILURES
1999 – Aaron Brooks
2002 – David Garrard
2005 – Kyle Orton
2012 – Kirk Cousins
1996 – Danny Kanell
1997 – Danny Wuerffel
2001 – Sage Rosenfels
2001 – Chris Weinke
2003 – Seneca Wallace
2004 – Luke McCown
1996 – Jeff Lewis
1997 – Pat Barnes
1999 – Joe Germaine
2001 – Jesse Palmer
2002 – Rohan Davey
2005 – Stefan LeFors
2009 – Stephen McGee
2010 – Mike Kafka

 

It’s a little early to label the guys taken after 2012, since many of them have yet to ever hit free agency or get much opportunity to develop. However, this list is hardly inspiring: Tom Savage. Logan Thomas, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, and Bryce Petty. I don’t see too many Pro Bowl coming out of that group. Hell, I’ll be surprised if any of them ever earn starting jobs.

Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Dallas Cowboys Draft Class: The Power Of 4

Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Even if Prescott manages to be a rare fourth-round success, check out those four guys again. Would you really want any of them as your starting quarterback? Brooks and Orton had solid years but plenty of weaknesses. Garrard was the best of the group and even made a Pro Bowl, but he was hardly an elite player. As for Cousins, Washington was too scared to commit long-term and gave him the franchise tag.

I know what you’re thinking; “Where a guy gets drafted doesn’t matter! Anyone has a chance to become a star!”

You’re absolutely right, of course. We live in a post-Tom Brady and Tony Romo world that allows for you to dream about a quarterback’s potential regardless of where he was drafted, or if he was even drafted at all. But nevertheless, let’s not delude ourselves.

Cowboys Headlines - Dak Prescott Probably Isn't the Future 1

Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The “chance” of a rookie quarterback becoming a star, as proven over decades of drafting, drops with every round. Even though they can certainly be wrong at times, scouts ultimately know what they’re doing and guys get drafted high or low based on their perceived talent and potential. Some may slip through the cracks, but that table above shows you just how spot-on the scouts usually are.

That’s why we have to measure our expectations. If Prescott becomes a solid career backup then he’s already done better than the majority of fourth-round quarterbacks. Anything beyond that puts him in rare company.

If he’s the next in line from Staubach to Aikman to Romo, then that means he’s the best fourth-round quarterback since at least Rich Gannon in 1987 or even Joe Theismann in 1971.

In other words, don’t hold your breath.

Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

14 Comments
  • Brent

    I have been watching the draft since the 80's. I have been studying players for the draft since the 90's. I look at highlights of the players, combine footage and watch the Senior Bowl repeatedly. I did not like any of the players that have been listed as previous 4th round picks. I do however like Dak Prescott. He is a leader that gets the job done but has the talent as well. I believe his being a 4th round pick had more to do with other needs teams have. How many teams this year absolutely needed a QB? Drafting a QB is a crap shoot Rounds 1 through the undrafted. A lot depends on the situation they go to, the players they're surrounded with and the coaching. Dallas was the best place Dak could have landed and I am excited. Yes, I would have taken Carson Wentz, Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch but I believe the Cowboys played this draft well and and am glad we had a little luck missing out on Connor Cook as I was not that impressed. I do realize that Dak still has a ways to go and Romo is our best chance for the next few years. But it's okay to be excited the Dak fell into our laps when he did. Of course, this is just one Cowboys fan and draft geek's opinion. Thanks for listening.

  • Ashley Robinson

    What round was Tony Romo drafted again?

  • Keith

    Tom Brady was a sixth round pick. Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent. Russell Wilson was taken just one round earlier and he already has a Super Bowl ring. (And a crushing Super Bowl defeat.) True, the odds are not great that Dak will be a franchise quarterback. The reality is each situation and player is unique. I suggest we see how Dak does on the field this preseason before we start making any pronouncements on his future.

    • Jess Haynie

      I'll be delighted for Dak to go against history. But until we do see him on the field, all we have to go by is precedent. And clearly, it speaks pretty loudly against him. Thanks for reading.

  • Jess Haynie

    I'm excited that you're excited, Brent. I guess my biggest concern is that guys like Cook and Hackenburg weren't getting people very excited and yet they still went ahead of Prescott. Heck, we even know that Dallas was trying to move up for Cook before they ultimately took Dak. Just cause for concern.

  • Jess Haynie

    Yes, Romo and Brady. Pretty sure I addressed them in the article. That's two players out of 20 years of drafting. Really want to put your eggs in that basket?

  • Randy Martin

    Jess your such a Debbie Downer dashing the hopes of Cowboy fandom! Yeah choosing a franchise QB in the 4th round is a bit like getting lightning in a bottle but it can happen. Yes we should certainly temper our enthusiasm but I'd like to see a training camp and pre-season and more before leaping to this conclusion based strictly on draft position. Dang it, if we had only drafted him in the first round then he would have been the franchise QB we are looking for!

    • Jess Haynie

      The crazy thing is that first-round guys are about a 50/50 proposition, too. The only difference there is that the guys who do work out usually end up being way better than the likes of Aaron Brooks and Kyle Orton. Obviously, I want for Prescott to be the next big thing. It would be delightful. I just felt the need to remind everyone of how incredibly rare that is based on where he was drafted.

  • Robert

    I agree with Jesse

  • Rick

    What an ignorant article. Clearly knows nothing about football

    • http://www.PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

      Hope you saw the date the article was written. Also hope you actually read it to see the point I was making.

      I LOVE that Dak looks like he may beat the odds! Still, doesn’t change the history that he’s overcoming.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      What an ignorant comment. You obviously didn’t read the article before commenting on it. Eagles fan?

  • Monica Smith Edwards

    looking forward to reading your future article where you fully address the plate of crow sitting on your dinner table. #DakAttack if you had watched ANY film of Dak during his 4 years as a record breaking QB where he took a ho hum Mississippi State football team all the way to #1 in the polls, you would have written a different article. one that marveled at the luck of the Cowboys to pick up this gem of a QB in the 4th round. #WeBelieve #HAILSTATE #SaturdaytoSunday #DaksmyQuarterback #PutaStarOnIt

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      haha Touché.

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